Get Ready for Generation Z in the Workplace

While most employers are still trying to figure out how to best accommodate Millennials, another group of workers is set to storm the workplace: Generation Z.  Members of this generation were generally born between 1995 and 2010, and according to Forbes Magazine, will make up approximately 20 percent of the workforce by the year 2021.  Before you exhale and think that you have time, that’s just two years from now.

Generation Z is the most digitally-connected yet.  In fact, their lives have been shaped by digital tools since birth!  Let that sink in for a moment.  Now, consider this.  Is your workplace ready to engage Generation Z’ers?

Here are six things that you should know about the slew of Generation Z workers who’ll soon be knocking on your door, if they haven’t already.

  1. They love competition!  Use this to your advantage!  Encouraging your team to compete in order to generate ideas to solve problems can boost productivity and efficiency.  You may also want to consider gamification.  Gamification is the process of awarding badges, points, and leaderboard positions to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty.  [HINT: There’s a great video about the topic in the link.]  Bonus:  Competition and gamification can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line. 
  2. They seek security.  Generation Z’ers saw first-hand the financial suffering of their parents who were hit hard by the Great Recession.  This means that, although they are young, they are no strangers to financial insecurities.  A stable paycheck and secure job are near the top of their hierarchy.  We may find that this will lead to less job-hopping than their Millennial counterparts, thus, higher employee retention for you!
  3. They are frugal.  Generation Z’ers want to get all that they can get with their spending power.  Their need for security ties into this trait.  They’ve been described as “realistic and mindful” in terms of financial issues.  That explains why a recent survey found that 90 percent of this generation checks with their parents to make sure that a planned purchase is affordable before making a final decision.  This frugality is a plus for your company, because it is more likely that resources will not be wasted and you’ll get more bang for your buck if you give them purchasing responsibilities.
  4. They are a global generation.  Since members of this generation are digital natives, they have experienced the kind of global connectivity that previous generations did not.  Use that to your advantage as well.  The seamless online accessibility to people and things around the globe makes is so that cultural, geographic, and language barriers are less of a problem for Generation Z’ers.  This could translate to increased sales and better communications with potential clients for your company. 
  5. They are independent.  This kind of confidence is a bonus in the workplace.  Generation Z’ers are known to take initiative and run away with their creative ideas.  Provide necessary oversight and adequate training then watch them go and grow! 
  6. They prefer instant gratification.  The digital world that provides instant answers means that this group is not used to waiting.  They know what they want and they want it now.  This translates to “go-getter” in resume terms.  If you’re looking for people who will get things done, take this group seriously.  Of course, you’ll be more successful at retaining them if you provide frequent feedback and rewards versus the typical annual or semiannual performance review.

Don’t fear Generation Z when they come knocking at your door.  Use your knowledge of their generational traits to your advantage and help spark the enthusiasm of the workforce’s future leaders.